Viewpoint by Prof Lynda Gratton Director, Future of Work Consortium Little big planet: As a result of connectivity and globalisation millions of jobs across the world are disappearing, according to Lynda Gratton
What is fundamentally transforming work is extraordinary connectivity. In the near future, at least five billion people around the world will use some form of mobile device to download information, access knowledge and coach and teach each other.Some will have the intellectual capacity and motivation to really make something of this opportunity, wherever they happen to be born.These people will want to join the global talent pool and, if possible, migrate to creative and vibrant cities.By doing so, this vast crowd of talented people will increasingly compete with each other, continuously upping the stakes for what it takes to succeed.It seems to me that this will impact all of us in three ways - the hollowing out of work, the globalisation of virtual work, and the rise of the 'transnational'. Globalisation of virtual work
The West's positional advantage in educating its population will be rapidly eroded even for higher skilled jobs as online education platforms like MIT's OpenCourseWare, Open Yale, iTunes U and Khan Academy connect students in vast numbers, whilst enabling them to have very similar learning experiences and work towards similar qualifications. fulfilling a childhood fantasy … Chaudhuri moved to Calcutta, later Kolkata, in 1999. Photograph: Peter Dench/Alamy I was in Berlin at the end of 2005 when my agent called and asked me if I'd write a book on Calcutta. It was a work of non-fiction he wanted: Indian non-fiction was going to be the new Indian fiction. I declined, saying, "I'd rather write about Berlin"; but I saw where he was coming from. Suketu Mehta's compendious narrative of Bombay low-life, Maximum City, had been a critical and commercial success. It wouldn't have taken much to guess that it, and a country transformed by 15 years of economic deregulation, would unleash a stream of books on what, in journalistic shorthand, is called the "new India". I'd written three novels which had Calcutta as their setting, and my agent probably saw me as the ideal candidate for producing a non-fiction work on the city. The mid-2000s was a time of complete immersion in the present – a characteristic of free-market capitalism – so that things that had happened 15, 10, or even five years ago felt remote, and the frequent "all-time best" lists in newspapers covered a span of, at most, 20 years. From the perspective of this compressed view of eternity, my novels about Calcutta might almost have inhabited another era. Perhaps it was time to write a new book about the city. -------------------------------------------------
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I instinctively knew that I couldn't, and didn't want to, do a Maximum City with Calcutta. Mehta's book, which I had reviewed and admired, wasn't just about Bombay; it was a creation-myth for a new nation and its unprecedented, amoral provenance. History may not have ended, but the Nehruvian era had, with its "mixed" economy of socialist development, Five-Year Plans, idealistic hypocrisies and circumscribed private enterprise. Dams, the avowed temples of the older, industrialising nation, had given way to new temples where the rich and the aspirational classes could congregate in a kind of celebration, such as international airports (Katherine Boo's recent book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, records the doomed theatre of a slum that festers, hidden, behind Bombay's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport). I, who'd grown up in Bombay, leaving it for Britain in the early 1980s, had barely encountered the city Mehta described during my 21...